The University of Lethbridge Kodiaks became the champions of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) men’s soccer league Oct. 25-27. (Submitted photo).

Vernon soccer player heads to national college championships

The former W.L. Seaton player plays for the ACAC Champion-winning Lethbridge Kodiaks

For most of this season, University of Lethbridge soccer player Kenzel Aarts-Roman sat on the sidelines with a shoulder injury. But after helping his team rise to the top of college soccer in Alberta, the former W.L. Seaton player is poised to play a big role at nationals.

The Lethbridge Kodiaks won the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Soccer Championships last week from Oct. 25 to 27 in Edmonton. As a result, they’ll have to hurry over to Oshawa this weekend to prepare for the National Championships Nov. 6 to 9.

“After winning the (Alberta) championships we are now ranked second in all of Canada,” said Aarts-Roman, who developed his game at his Vernon high school before heading to college two years ago.

Having been sidelined with a dislocated shoulder for months, it’s been a challenge for the 20-year-old to work his way back onto the first unit of a Lethbridge team that’s full of high-skill players. But in the quarterfinals of the ACAC tournament against The King’s University he was given the chance to prove himself.

Aarts-Roman entered the game in the 80th minute with the score knotted at one goal apiece, and 13 minutes later with the game winding down to its final seconds, he made the most of the chance he’d been given.

“I heard all my teammates yelling at me saying ‘shoot! shoot! shoot!’”

So Aarts-Roman shot. And when he looked up and saw the ball fly into the net, he started running.

“I was in tears and shock,” he said. “The girl’s team was in the bleachers so I ran to them and celebrated with my teammates. We all dog-piled on and everyone was kissing my forehead.”

It was Aarts-Roman’s first goal in his two years of college play, and it couldn’t have come at a more important moment.

“It was quite an amazing experience that I’m so grateful to have taken part of.”

READ MORE: Vernon Minor Softball top small association in B.C.

READ MORE: Vernon’s Shanda Hill makes Canadian history

Having provided his team with some heroics, Aarts-Roman was rewarded by his coach with a full 90 minutes of playing time in the following game, taking the place of a senior player who received a red card in the match prior. He’s confident his coach’s trust in him will carry over to nationals.

“I just worked hard and kept on pushing throughout that game to really show that I have potential to fit into this national squad for the team, and I believe that I will have a really high responsibility for the coming games to man-mark different people,” he said.

Aarts-Roman plays holding mid and describes himself as an energy player who can neutralize opponents’ top players.

“My coach calls me ‘special teams.’ I usually get in for man-marking and hold defence. He puts me out there to be an engine pretty much.”

Days before the start of nationals, Aarts-Roman doesn’t sound like a young man who’s satisfied with his or his team’s accomplishments to date. He sounds like he’s hungry for more.

“We just really want to go out there and prove that Lethbridge College is not a school to mess around with, and we hope to bring home a medal.”

Lethbridge will play the opening match of the tournament at Oshawa’s Durham College on Wednesday, Nov. 6 versus the Vancouver Island University Mariners.

Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vernon golf course to host national event local qualifier

The Rise hosts the RBC PGA Scramble qualifier Sunday, July 26

UPDATED: Interior Health to add 495 long-term seniors care beds

Nelson, Kelowna, Kamloops, Vernon and Penticton to receive new facilities

Boardwalk closures ahead for Vernon cyclists, pedestrians

Next phase of storm rehab project will see closures of up to 20 minutes

Missing woman last seen in Lumby

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP seek public’s help in locating 32-year-old woman

Vernon RCMP look to return stolen bike to owner

If you are missing your bike from Cenotaph park on July 5, call Vernon RCMP

Vernon Mounties share video of cyclist hit by vehicle, assaulted

Police release short video clip of cyclist struck by SUV in March 2020, and photos of suspects

Horoscopes for the week of July 13

Weekly horoscopes by Morgan Fava

Police keep eye on motorbike gang in Kelowna for poker run

The Throttle Lockers Motorcycle Club Poker Run was to have taken place on July 11

Prohibited driver ticketed after rollover on Highway 1 near Salmon Arm

Jeep Cherokee hit rock face before rolling multiple times

Village of Keremeos looks to dismantle systemic racism

Mayor says the time is right to deconstruct racist institutions

Penticton woman struck by mystery bullet

Woman suffers no major injuries; RCMP without any leads, investigation continues

COVID-19 exposure on Kelowna flight

Interior Health has capacity to test individuals who need it, but is reminding everyone that testing is not required for those who do not have symptoms

Kelowna COVID-19 cluster identified after private parties

Risks ‘considerably higher’ while attending private events, said Health Minster Adrian Dix

Use of safety flares prompt search on Shuswap Lake

Marine search and rescue crew finds boat unoccupied, no one in distress

Most Read